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Category Archives: theories

I have a theory that all the Roman female bloggers I read live in Aranda (essept Enny, coz I know she doesn’t)

I dunno why. I just think so. If you have evidence to support or discount this theory, please do not share it.

I find that evidence only upsets my theories. I’m anti-evidence.

This week, I got a few days work. But since they were way out in Fyshwick, I had to catch a bus. Standing at the bus-stop on the first morning, I noticed that most of the drivers that went past were mostly empty. Surely it wouldn’t be hard to have a car-pooling service, a website where drivers and passengers could link up. Later in the morning, I texted half a dozen of my friends asking if such a service would be viable, and did my friends think it would work?

Tonight, Mick sent me an email telling me someone else had had the same idea. Have a read of what Nathaniel has had to say about it and give him feedback. Because he’s clearly thought about it a lot more than me, and even has some idea how it might work.

Will’s got a theory. I was telling DryEyedCrab this tonight, and she pointed out that Will seems to have a lot of theories. And the fact is, he does. This one I was telling the Crab about tonight is about how men and women, despite thousands of years of “civilisation” still think quite primitively in many respects.

ist2_2813071_the_outcast.jpgThe example we were talking about relates to how men tend to operate much more independently, and women operate cooperatively.

As a result of this, when women want someone to follow a particular course, they threaten ostracism. Because there is nothing they themselves fear more than being completely alone, separated from the tribe.

Whereas with men, they don’t fear ostracism much at all. If a man finds himself alone, it’s reflective time. We convince ourselves we’re like “Old Ben” living as a hermit out beyond the Dune Sea. We’re like Jesus wandering the desert for 40 days. It’s a time of meditation. Nothing to fear at all. We view alone-time more like something to be savoured, anticipated and relished.

Will talks about ‘lifeboat’ strategies. In other words, he speaks of planning for the worst scenarios. If minor problems occur, we’ll have the kinds of systems in place, and our worlds constructed the right way, so we can ride out storms. While some might see this as a morbid view of the future. But let me illustrate Will’s position with a story he once told me:

Imagine you’re a chap named Noah. God says to you one day to build an ark and save the animals from a flood. You look at what you’ll need to carry out this project: lots of wood, animal husbandry skills, boat building skills, a good food supply aboard the boat.
But what if the light and voice from the clouds was in your imagination? What if it doesn’t really happen? You go back to your economics training and do a cost/benefit analysis.

If there’s a flood and you build the ark: Survival
If there’s a flood and you don’t build the ark: Destruction
If there’s no flood and you build the ark: End up with a big boat, a pile of food, a boat-building business, a sawmill and sons who’ll probably end up becoming vets due to having to learn how to care for all the animals
If there’s no flood and you don’t build the ark: You go about life as normal before the light in the clouds spoke

Whether the flood happens or not, you’re ahead by building the boat. So being a rational person, as the economists would define you, you build the ark.

What Will illustrates in the story is that the measures we should take to minimise our exposure to damage, and our reliance on things beyond our control, are going to – even if the world around us doesn’t go pear-shaped – benefit us in the long-run. So is there a valid reason not to do them?

roman_ruins_palmyra_syria_photo_gov.jpg

One of the things I guess I can be confident about is my ability to rebuild. Maybe it came from having moved schools 18 times in 13 years as a youngster? In my adult life though, the world has burnt and crumbled, yet been rebuilt. Reminds me of:

King of Swamp Castle: When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up.

So here I am again, needing to rebuild. I have every confidence it can be done, and probably done well considering the advantages I have for this new phase. But I have little patience for it.

Obviously, the first step is to obtain employment, and therefore give myself some financial room to move. So yesterday, I went to see a couple of temp agencies who were keen (and with Rome’s 3% unemployment rate, and seemingly more jobs than job-seekers, it’s a damn good market to be looking in). But like everything in Rome, it’s a process, and processes take time, and all I can do is await a phone call to let me know about the next stage. Waiting annoys me. It’s the hated hours that the phone doesn’t ring. It annoys me.

While I’m “vacant” though, I’ve sent out an email to my Roman friends. You know how it is when you think to yourself how useful it’d be to have an unemployed friend who can do stuff for you (wait at home for the plumber to come, or sit in the queue at the motor registry to renew your registration etc)? Well, I’m offering to be that person. After all, I have the time. And so I may as well use it productively to help my friends out. So if you do need a slave in Rome for that kind of thing, you know where I am.

Actually, that’s the kind of thing I mean when I talk about working cooperatively rather than competitively with peers – I have this resource (my time) that other people might not have at the moment. So I share it around, and help out whoever needs it. But I’m getting into philosophy there, so we’ll leave that for another time.

I used to be depressed. As in, I was diagnosed with depression in 1997.

Over the last ten years, I’ve come up with different ways to deal with how I am. One is that I rate how I’m feeling on a scale from -100% to +100%. So I just accept where I am on the scale, and adjust appropriately.

I don’t believe in depression, as a ‘disease’. And the problem with when I’ve got a theory is that occasionally, I’ll find reinforcement for it, and then there’s no stopping my unconventional beliefs. The best advice I ever heard regarding depression comes from this documentary from a few months ago. It’s the story of Brian Egan, a navy veteran who’d seen some pretty awful things during his service, then tried to become a farmer and lost the family farm. He ended up suicidal in a hospital, and a doctor told him “Find someone worse off than yourself Brian, and help them.” So he did. It was the best advice anyone gave him, and it’s the best advice anyone with ‘depression’ can hear.

Too many ‘depressed’ people are treated in the worst possible way by those around them. They are indulged. The only real way to deal with depression is to get off your arse and fix it. Find things you care about, and immerse yourself in them. Find a wrong, and make it right. Accept what you are, and how you are, and get on with life. Everything else – counselling, drug therapy etc is just bullshit. Depression saps your will to cure yourself. It destroys your self-motivation. So it takes effort to overcome the inertia and get off your butt. But it’s the only cure there is. Life’s there to be lived. Stop fucken whinging and get on with it. Noone ever died wishing they’d watched more TV.

Discuss.

I was chatting to a friend recently. She was a bit flush with cash, so she was offering to lend it to me to assist with my move. Lending it to me was a way she considered the money would be out of reach, but still going to come back to her in a month or two down the track, when she’s likely to once again be skint (coz she’s a uni student). And I declined her loan, but we began to talk about an idea I had a while back, and I’ve been bouncing off people for a while. It goes a little something like this.

Within a small circle of friends – no more than 10 – we establish an account with a bank. Into that account, we divert one percent of our income. The amount is small enough that we’d not notice it disappearing, but over time, it’d grow.
When one of the circle needed cash for something out of the ordinary (a rental bond etc) then they’d be able to borrow from the fund. Obviously, if everyone saw it as a cash-cow to be milked as hard as possible, the funds in the account just wouldn’t hold up to it. But for small purposes, it’d act as a kind of ‘revolving money’ scheme to allow friends to help each other out.

Discuss.

Last night, ABC TV showed the controversial film “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. I didn’t watch it last night, but I have seen it on TV Links. So I didn’t need to. But they also hosted a debate amongst some Australian scientists about the claims made in the film.

ABC Radio’s Science Show put up a counter-episode here.

I think this raises an interesting question about the levels of public awareness about issues. For example, if you can make a glossy film that looks like a documentary, and you can use captions on screen to say someone is a scientist from such and such a university, then the format and the information presented gains some credibility. Even if everything they say, and the positions and qualifications you say someone has are completely false.

So who can you trust? Not just on this issue, but on any issue? Unless I know someone personally, or have their legitimacy vouched for by someone whose judgement I do trust, how can I tell if someone is really a professor of atmospheric climatology or an actor with a subtitle on the screen?

Over at George Marshall’s blog, he explains that the main reason the Swindle film gained traction with many people, amongst other reasons, is that the public want to believe in it. They want to believe that their lifestyles aren’t threatened.

Personally, my views are a mixture of what I have gained from study, absorbing the words of Will over twenty years, reading New Scientist each week, following the issue in the media, attending talks and seminar like the Earth Dialogs last year and my own readings.

You wake up. It’s Saturday morning.

You look across your pillows to your clock-radio. But it’s not on. “Black-out?” you ask yourself. You get up, wander to the bathroom, and habit means you flick the light-switch as you go confirms your theory – no lights. You use the toilet. It flushes, but the cistern doesn’t refill. But refilling is usually quiet, so you don’t even notice.

Shower next, and so you strip down, step into the cubicle, turn the taps.

And nothing.

Something’s wrong. You’ve been awake less than a few minutes, and your day’s turned to shit.

In our societies, we’re incredibly reliant. On other people. On technological devices. On energy. We cannot function if there weren’t these support structures. But have you ever given thought to what you’d do if they disappeared? If they stopped working? Or do you assume they will always work, so why worry about it?